This weekend on May 12 & 13 the 11th Asakusabashi Kohaku Maronnier Matsuri will take place in Asakusabashi. The name of this local event translates as Red and White Chestnut Festival, named after the chestnut trees that are in bloom now. Some trees have white flowers and others are red or pink. The word Kohaku describes the contrast between white and red.
The Kohaku Maronnier Matsuri takes place at the Hulic Asakusabashi Building just outside the JR Asakusabashi Station. Stalls setting up for the event outside the building will sell Japanese street food favorites such as yakisoba noodles, octopus takoyaki, and chicken karaage. There will also be stalls offering fun games for kids.
Inside the Hulic building, the 2F Hall will turn into a special market this weekend where you can buy Japanese products and foods, some of them made locally. Asakusabashi and the surrounding area have a long history as the home of Tokyo’s craftsmen. Local makers will join the market and offer their products, including dolls, toys, and leather goods.
Asakusabashi is an old business district with many wholesale companies for traditional Japanese dolls. Some of the companies here that specialize in dolls have been in operation for over 200 years. Many famous doll makers are located here, offering different kinds of Japanese dolls for playing and display. In Asakusabashi and the nearby Kuramae and Asakusa areas many craftsmen making shoes, bags, and other leather goods also have their workshops.
On both Saturday and Sunday there will also be parades with Japanese dance teams in Asakusabashi. Teams start during different times during the day. Some are from local schools and others are local dance teams. Some of them will show traditional Awa-odori dancing.
Asakusabashi Station is located next to Sumida River in the east of Tokyo. If you want to see more of the city, Yakatabune boats anchored here offer trips around Sumida River and Tokyo Bay. On a Yakatabune you can see more of the city while you enjoy a Japanese meal.
Come out to Asakusabashi this weekend and have fun exploring the area.